Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Journey with Lasik and PRK

Our journey started about 8 months ago.  Dan and I had always talked about getting Lasik done but after Dan's last eye appointment we began to seriously consider Lasik. Dan had to change his contact brand to one that had to be changed everyday; while he still was  having lots of eye irritation. So we started in February, we made an appointment with Travers Lasik and went in for our first consultation.  We were surprised when the price per eye was $1799!  We looked at each other and said it would be a while. 
My eyes have two very different prescriptions.  My left is -1.75 and my right is -4.50.  We were happy to find out that my left eye qualified for their promotion for PRK.  If your eye was less than -2.00 you qualified for PRK at $999.  The biggest problem was I was still breastfeeding!  And you can not get  Lasik or PRK if you are breastfeeding or pregnant because of how the hormones affect your vision.
After some discussion we decided to put things on hold and get more quotes.  Come July after I had stopped breastfeeding for 6 weeks and close to Charlie's birthday so that I could still get pregnant before too much longer after the procedure.

I stopped breastfeeding at the end of May and then in June we went and had two more consultations and quotes.  The 2nd  doctor we saw was suppose to give us a discount with our insurance; the quote they gave us was $1798 per eye and recommended PRK for Dan because he supposedly had thinned corneas. The PRK with that doctor was the same price as the Lasik. This doctors office and his equipment were a bit older, and although he was very friendly, we were not super impressed .

The 3rd doctor was the high end of Lasik, he had all the updated equipment and knowledge.  We would have loved to have gone with him but his price was $2150 per eye.  He said if I wanted to do PRK with him the cost was $1690.  Again, this guy knew his stuff and was the most up to date and I felt every confidence in him.

So on the way home we decided to go a head with the first doctor we had seen because they had the best prices as well as they seemed up to date and we did like them originally.  After sleeping on it, we called and set it up so I would finish my eye examine (they did not finish the first time because I was nursing) and have the procedure the same day, which was July 18th.

I was out of my contacts for 5 days, and then went in at 8 am (they wanted my eyes to have plenty of time to adjust and relax between the exam and the procedure.)  They dilated my eyes and  did other exams.  I then was given 4 prescriptions to fill before coming back in at 5pm that evening.  I was given a prescription for 2 Valium (to take right before the procedure), antibiotic drops (for both eyes), anti-inflammatory drops (for the PRK eye, these drops were the most expensive and REALLY hard to find (called 6 pharmacies, and drove to Raleigh), and 800 mg Motrin (for inflammation for the PRK eye).

When we arrived at 5pm we had to wait our turn in the waiting room.  It was a little bit unnerving to see other patients zombie walk out of the clinic with both eyes patched over and pained looks on their faces after completing their procedures.  When they took us back (Dan and I) we then had to wait 30 min in a TV suite.  They had put a blue cotton cap on my head and cotton fabric on the sides of my head to catch the eye drops they would place in my eyes during the procedures.  Just before I went back I took 1 Valium.  I'm not going to lie, I was feeling pretty darn nervous by this point and just wanted to be done!

Once I was in the procedural room I met with Dr. Travers and she looked at my eyes and told me what to expect.  They had me take off my glasses and lay on the a table below the lasers. They covered my left eye with a cotton patch. The Dr. had me look down and taped my upper eye lid up and then taped my lower lids down so I could not blink during the procedure.  I was told to focus on a green light (the doctor was very specific--do NOT look away from the green light) and I was given  moisturizing and numbing eye drops. After the eye drop and refocusing on the green dot I was told not to move and the green light began to blur as I felt LOTS of pressure on my right eye (this is the Lasik eye by the way) and this round thing pushed into my eye.  All then went black and then the pressure went away and I was told to continue to focus on the green light.  I felt Dr. Travers pull back the cornea flap and then saw a red laser.  I then felt the pressure and could smell a disticnt smell as the laser corrected my vision which took 30 seconds to a min max.  Dr. Travers then placed more moisturizing eye drops and took the cotton patch from my left eye and placed one on my right eye.

I was again given moisturizing and numbing drops in my left eye this time (this is the PRK eye).  As the numbing drops began to take effect and I was asked to look down and up as she taped my eye lid open, so I, once again, would not blink during the procedure.  Once my eye was numb, Dr. Travers scrapped away the surface of my eye's lens.  I then saw the red laser and felt the same pressure with the unique smell as my eye's lens was burned into shape. After the laser was done, a contact was placed over the eye to allow the lens surface to grow back.

They placed a a clear patch over my right eye that I was suppose to wear over night (no sleepy eye rubbing for me!) and then I was sent home. I was told to take the second Valium on the way home.  By the time we picked up the kids and arrived home, I could hardly walk and Dan had to pretty much carry me to bed.  I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.  I would definitely recommend getting the procedure later in the day so you can just go home and sleep until the next day.  It really helped!

When I woke up the next day, I could see 20/15 in my Lasik eye where as my PRK eye was still fairly blurry.  I was surprised because my Lasik eye was in more pain and more uncomfortable than my PRK eye.  When I went in that morning my Lasik eye was 20/15 and my PRK eye was 20/30, which I was told would get much worse and then would continue to get better every week. 

I went in for a one week check up to have my contact removed from my eye and my PRK was at about 20/50.  I couldn't really see anything out of it.  I also had really bad halos at night with both eyes and driving at night was a difficulty.

At my one month check up both eyes were at 20/15.  But it really did take a full month for my PRK eye to reach that.  There's something to be said with saving money but it's also nice to have instant results.  Either way, I am very pleased and life without contacts and glasses is becoming a dream.

I would definitely not suggest getting PRK done on both eyes at the same time, unless your willing to go almost a whole month with out being able to see movies, drive or really just see anything.  As for Lasik, AWESOME!  Minor pain the next day but you have perfect vision right off the bat, it's awesome.  I also didn't have as many drops with the Lasik eye.  After the first week all I had to take was the re-wetting drops 6-4 times a day (1st week re-wetting drops and antibiotic drops). Where as the PRK eye,  I had to take 500 mg of Vitamin C a day for 2 months after, 800 mg of Motrin 30 days after, first week re-wetting, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic drops.  After the first week I was done with the anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops but I still had to do the re-wetting drops as well as the start special lubricating drops at bed time so that my cornea as it was growing back would not stick tome eyelid and be wiped away when I blinked or opened my eyes in the morning.

Again, I am SO happy!  The funny part was I had my procedure the day after the Bishop called Dan and I in to extend the calling of Relief Society President.  So I spent my first Sunday with pretty fresh eyes!  I started a new era of life in many ways.  It made for a great birthday present.  So happy 25th, right?!

And this concludes my journey thus far.

Bella turns 3

Our sweet, stubborn Bella turned 3 last month! Bella is such a sweet little girl.  I'll be honest though this little girl has a stubborn streak in her which has me a little worried for the teenage years ;)  With Bella having turned 3, she was transitioned out of NC Early Intervention and starts speech therapy twice a week at a local Elementary school!  We will miss her Speech Therapist, Amanda and the fact that she came to us.  Bella still is very hard to understand and not where she should be but she is definitely getting there.  It was hard to get many pictures of her because she doesn't really like standing still for pics but here are a few: